Although neither the Get Up Kids nor Alkaline Trio are currently touring all that much (even if both came out to OC for the When We Were Young festival), fans across the country have been able to get tastes of both bands with Matt Pryor and Dan Andriano’s tour together this spring. As the tour winds through SoCal this weekend, Pryor says it’s not exactly the type of dreary show some people expect when a pair of veteran songwriters pack their acoustic guitars and hit the road.
“You think of those singer-songwriter shows being serious and somber affairs, but that’s really not what this is,” Pryor says. “It’s fun for us, and it’s a lot of singalong stuff that’s fun for everyone.”
But aside from each performing their own material, Pryor and Andriano have developed a good enough relationship over the decades that they’re doing something a little different this time around. Taking their musical partnership to the next level, the duo recorded a short EP together just in time for the tour to kick off back in February. Now, the two have gotten so used to sharing a stage that the evening feels as natural as performing with their various other projects.
“We’ve done it in the past where we just stand on stage and trade songs back and forth,” Pryor says. “We recorded a couple of songs together – just a little EP – that we’re going to play. But for us, it’s really just a good hang. Dan and I get along really well, and we have a similar sense of humor. It works out.”
But his EP with Andriano wasn’t Pryor’s only release in February. The current nationwide tour also serves as the first live support for Memento Mori, his sixth solo record and first recorded work in a few years. Unfortunately, the established singer and guitarist believes his latest record — which was created as a result of several people close to Pryor passing away a few years ago — is actually too sad to play much of during the live performances without dragging everyone down in the process.
“The record is really sad, and I’m really proud of it,” Pryor says. “I’m really happy with it and really proud of it, but the shows will not be really sad. I might play like a couple of songs from the new record, but for the most part it’s more of just a hangout and a fun time. It’s not a bummer at all. Actually, that’s the greatest tagline I could ever think of: ‘It’s not a bummer.’”
As someone who’s been primarily writing sad songs for over 20 years now, it’s almost surprising to hear Pryor describe his latest work as too much of bummer to play during the current solo shows. At the same time, what so often made his signature vocals and cleverly depressing songwriting work so well with the Get Up Kids was the poppy and upbeat rock music that backed it. There may not be anyone better at writing sad lyrics to happy musical arrangements, but that doesn’t mean Pryor isn’t going to try changing it up once or twice going forward.
“Sometimes I like to put out really happy music with really sad lyrics, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it the other way around,” Pryor says. “I’ve never written a really sad song that had really happy lyrics, but that seems like it’d be way more difficult. Actually, I think I’ve just made myself a challenge. I can do it.”
Matt Pryor and Dan Andriano will be at the Casbah in San Diego on Friday, May 12 and the Echoplex in LA on Sunday, May 14. Tickets and information for both shows are available on the venues’ websites.